I Know What Happened to Me: The Epistemic Harms of Microaggression

In Jeanine Weekes Schroer & Lauren Freeman (eds.), Microaggressions and Philosophy. New York: Taylor & Francis. pp. 163-183 (2019)
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How do we know that what has happened to us is a microaggression? I claim in this chapter that our understanding about how we perceive microaggression is grounded in the cultivation and critical reflection about experiences of people who occupy marginalized social locations. My aim is to explore the nature of epistemic harms of microaggression in order to highlight how they diminish the microaggressed’s ability to generate and participate in making knowledge claims. I differentiate between the primary (direct) harm of microaggressive acts, and the secondary epistemic harms that occur in the aftermath of the microaggression, particularly when the microaggressed attempts to convey their experience to others. I conclude with an analysis of the two secondary harms in hopes that it helps us explore a possible avenue of resistance to the epistemic harms of microaggression.

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Saba Fatima
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville


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